AFIT establishes Homeland Security Community of Best Practices

  • Published
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

The Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Air Force Institute of Technology established the Homeland Security Community of Best Practices, 1 October 2020. 

The HS CoBP is born out of the innovative approaches to test planning and follow-on data analytics within AFIT’s eight-year-old Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques Center of Excellence.

The new community’s core mission is strategic, leading a consortium of academic, industry, and government experts to assess future homeland threats to inform test and analysis plans across nine DHS test and evaluation critical areas including:

  1. Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems  
  2. Cyber Security and Resilience  
  3. Information Technology  
  4. Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems  
  5. Cloud Technologies  
  6. Systems Reliability  
  7. Sub-terrain (Cross Border Tunnels) Detection Technologies  
  8. Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosives Detection and Interdiction 
  9. Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques

The purpose of a strategic future-look is to shape the application of T&E in each critical area ahead of a new technology’s requirement to defend against future threats.

The HS CoBP team will function as a knowledge integrator, leveraging its position at AFIT to bring together the best T&E and critical area experts to establish a strategic T&E plan that anticipates rapidly changing threats.  Each T&E plan will function as a playbook for DHS programs, and will include best practices, lessons learned, and identify subject matter expert reach-back for specialized systems, test planning, and data analysis. 

The HS CoBP will also provide tactical support to equip the DHS program workforce with technically rigorous methods, tools, and best practices that lead to efficient tests with defensible results. This support builds on three recent years of STAT COE support, where STAT experts assisted more than 30 DHS programs as they formulated T&E strategies, drafted test plans, and performed data analysis. Specific examples include 1) designing a sequential test to determine whether system configuration changes inadvertently reduced system performance at detecting threats; 2) creating a statistics-based usage profile for a database system to direct sampling plans and enhance prediction accuracy; 3) proposing optimal test designs to estimate the threat level at which a system’s detection probability decreases below acceptable thresholds; and 4) using statistics to determine the minimum number of simulation runs required to best estimate detection performance. In addition to direct support, the team will enable graduate-level scientific and technical support to acquisition programs and provide technical training to the DHS workforce. 

The HS CoBP is the new strategic arm and tactical support community at AFIT for DHS T&E. The Director of the Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques Center of Excellence, Dr. Darryl Ahner, will lead the stand-up of the new HS CoBP.